TAKE A BREAK
MEDITATION ALTERNATIVES For People Who Don’t Like to Meditate
Meditation is lauded for its health benefits and is often suggested as an effective way to clear the mind, organize thoughts, and reduce stress. Realistically, however, it’s not for everyone. In fact, some people don’t experience any benefits at all from meditating. In a recent study published in New Scientist about the effectiveness of meditation, researchers confirmed that some people do not benefit from meditation and that about 8% of people who try meditation experience an “unwanted effect,” such as an increase in anxiety. If you’re not interested in meditation, or it just doesn’t work for you, here are some alternative ways to clear your mind and reduce stress. Get serious about physical activity. Aerobic exercises — like walking, jogging, running, cycling, and swimming — are great for clearing your mind and getting your body moving. Really, any exercise that gets the heart pumping and increases your respiratory rate will do. Research supports that aerobic exercise is a great alternative to meditation that yields many of the same benefits. Exercising outdoors or in nature — especially in new places — enhances these benefits. Because your surroundings are going to be unfamiliar, your mind is more focused, which can help if you’re searching for clarity. Stay mentally engaged. Many people achieve clarity, focus, and stress reduction through simple but engaging tasks, such as immersing themselves in an adult coloring book, doing brain teasers, or assembling LEGO sets, which proves they can be effective therapeutic tools or alternatives to meditation. The LEGO Company has actually been developing more products for adults with this sort of research in mind. But why LEGO products specifically? In addition to being objects you touch and push together, LEGO products come with clear, step-by-step instructions, which make them easy to put together and allow you to focus more on the task at hand. Even if you don’t complete the piece in one sitting, working on a project a few minutes a day can be a beneficial way to find a little clarity.
CINNAMON-SPICED CANDIED SWEET POTATOES
Inspired by FoodAndWine.com
These candied sweet potatoes will make your family beg for more!
• 4 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces, then cut lengthwise into 1-inch wedges • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
• 1 tbsp kosher salt • 1/4 tsp ground cloves • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed • 4 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 2. Place sweet potato wedges in a 4-quart baking dish. 3. Sprinkle sugar, salt, and cloves over sweet potatoes.
4. Dot with butter and place cinnamon sticks around sweet potatoes. 5. Bake, turning every 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid is syrupy, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. 6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. 7. Discard cinnamon sticks and serve.
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